The first Super Bowl in the history of Las Vegas kicks off at Allegiant Stadium this Sunday. All eyes will be on the city that is no stranger to hosting significant events.
The estimated economic impact of Super Bowl LVIII on Las Vegas is approximately $600 million. The city expects to welcome 330,000 visitors. Given these numbers, it’s no surprise that Las Vegas is going all-in hosting its first-ever Super Bowl.
“Las Vegas knows how to do big events,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. And the city realizes the importance of this one.
“We are very cognizant that we have one opportunity to get the first Super Bowl in Las Vegas right,” said Steve Hill, president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA).
Taylor Swift Mania
The possibility of global icon Taylor Swift being at the game adds to the excitement. She hasn’t missed a Kansas City Chiefs preseason game to cheer on her boyfriend, Travis Kelce. If she does attend, she will fly in from Tokyo, where she performs on February 10. According to the U.S. Embassy of Japan, given the time difference and length of the flight, she can make it with time to spare.
The city is awash in Swift-mania. What type of outfit will she wear to the game? Will she cry if the Kansas City Chiefs lose? You can bet on all these scenarios and more.
Chéri Rooftop at Paris Las Vegas has even created a specialty Taylor Swift-themed cocktail. The Red Lip Classic combines Malibu, Baileys Strawberry Cream, and Disaronno.
Allegiant Stadium in the Spotlight
The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will battle it out in the big game. The venue, Allegiant Stadium, the home of the Las Vegas Raiders. This state-of-the-art arena opened in September 2020, offering abundant group programming opportunities.
On non-game days, the locker rooms, private club areas, the field, and even full stadium buyouts are possible. It can accommodate groups as small as 25 people all the way up to 65,000. Stadium tours, custom catering menus, and appearances by Raiderettes are possible.
The Al Davis Memorial Torch area is a popular events space. It features 80-foot-high lanai doors overlooking the Las Vegas skyline on one side and the Raiders field on the other.
Las Vegas Encourages Celebrate Excessively
Similar to a campaign the LVCVA launched last year geared for meeting and event planners, “Not Invited,” a reference to “uninviting mediocrity and the expected,” that turned heads, is the “Celebrate Excessively,” campaign. It includes an official petition on Change.org that proposes everyone in Las Vegas must be allowed to celebrate freely on February 11, 2024.
The petition is a nod to the fact that while professional sports often restrict excessive celebrations, they are always encouraged in Las Vegas. “Whether you are on the Strip, in the stadiums, or just here for a good time, Las Vegas will forever be the home of excessive celebration,” reads the petition in part.
Hill also commented on the petition: “Las Vegas is built for celebration. People come to Vegas because they know that the excitement surrounding the game is just as important as the game itself.”
Big Production for Big Vegas Celebration
The week kicked off in true Vegas style, as Elvis Presley impersonators and showgirls waited at Harry Reid International Airport for the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs to arrive.
“No other destination on Earth provides the diversity and scope of Las Vegas,” says Lisa Messina, chief sales officer, LVCVA. “All of the assets that have been developed to attract the global sports scene are assets for a planner’s toolkit to provide unique events on non-game days. The world is watching, and we hope it will prompt those organizations that have yet to host a business event in Las Vegas to try.”
Time to Party
Among the biggest Super Bowl parties planned is the Maxim Casino Royale Experience the night before the big game. “There’s no bigger stage in the world,” said Seth Kaplan, founder and CEO of unKommon Events, the event planning and production company orchestrating the Maxim bash.
Kaplan said that celebrities, pro athletes, and social media influencers are among the 5,000 people on the guest list. On Monday, his team of 300 began round-the-clock shifts to build the party venue inside Resorts World’s 80,000-square-foot events center for the Saturday night bash. Rappers 21 Savage and 50 Cent are headlining.
In a city where everything is bigger, better, and brighter, Kaplan said he knew he needed to build an experiential venue from the ground up to meet expectations. “There will be top artists, amazing activations, many things our guests haven’t seen before,” he says. “Las Vegas will be the epicenter of the world the next few days. The sky is the limit here.”
Interestingly, after our Zoom call, he was off to see U2 at The Sphere. “As someone focused on production, I am looking forward to this experience,” he says.
Super Bowl Means Business
It was not just football fans who flooded the city this week. A full roster of meetings, conferences, and trade shows were also in town.
Jaki Baskow, CEO and owner of Baskow Talent and Las Vegas Speakers Bureau, took advantage of Super Bowl fever and booked former football players Peyton Manning, Jon Dorenbos, and Terry Crews as keynote speakers. In addition, she arranged for Erin Andrews, David Perrico and the Raiders House Band, the Raiderettes, and Alex Dowis to be at conferences this week as well.
“I have been a celebrity and talent broker in Las Vegas for the past 45 years, and I have never seen anything like this,” she says. “This has been my busiest week since the start of the pandemic. It seems everyone wants some Super Bowl magic in their meetings and events.”
Super Bowl Parties for All
The Super Bowl Experience has taken over the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The space has been converted into a football theme park with 17 games, including a 40-yard dash, vertical jump test, precision passing challenge, and an obstacle course. There are also 16 exhibits, including a history of the NFL and a collection of all 57 Super Bowl rings.
CBS Las Vegas Residency has set up its central broadcast at Bellagio with the fountains in the background. At the Venetian Theatre inside The Venetian Resort, the Off the Field NFL Wives Association, in partnership with Grand Canal Shoppes, is hosting the Off the Field Annual Charity Fashion Show.
Other Super Bowl parties include Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Tailgate behind the High Roller and The LINQ Promenade. Adjacent to Caesars Forum, it will be part food festival, part music festival.
Shaq’s Fun House will return to XS at the Wynn on Friday, marking its 15th year. Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is hosting his annual Gronk Beach at Encore Beach Club event.
The NFL Alumni Association and USA TODAY are partnering up for an event to kick off the weekend on Friday at AREA15. Former NFL stars will be on hand, and Jason Derulo will perform.
Photo credit: LVCVA / Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority